Halawa Well that delivers 20% of Honolulu’s water supply shut down to protect against contamination.
As a precaution, the agency has shut down its Halawa well ― which delivers 20% of the water supply to Urban Honolulu ― and is relying on other sources to make up the difference. The Board of Water Supply said it acted quickly Thursday night to shut down the water source after learning from the Navy that tests had confirmed the presence of petroleum in its Red Hill well. The Navy’s announcement came nearly five days after military households first started reporting that their water smelled like fuel and was making them sick. In a news conference Friday, Board of Water Supply Chief Engineer Ernest Lau explained that the Halawa well, which pumps 10 million gallons of water a day to customers from Halawa to Hawaii Kai, was shut down because “we tap the same aquifer” as the Navy. “We basically take water from the same glass of water,” he added. “What we don’t want to do is suck the fuel across the valley ... into our wells and send it to our customers.” Lau also said the frequency of testing at nearby wells will be increased to weekly. He said the crisis is a wake-up call that the Red Hill Fuel Storage Facility needs to be addressed. The underground facility with 180 million gallons of fuel sits 100 feet above the aquifer. “This is a disaster waiting to happen,” Lau said.